The Long Way Home


City of Bridges
June 2, 2013, 4:03 PM
Filed under: Library | Tags: , , , , ,
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This summer, I thought I’d switch it up a bit  and feature a collaboration project each month: my friend Mike’s fiction paired with my photographs – or we may get tricky and he’ll send me a fiction piece and I’ll take photographs interpreting the text. This is the first in the series and I’m excited to see what we come up with these next few months.

City of Bridges

She brought a book when she came to a new city as a filter between herself and people who might want to know her.  These outings were one-day affairs.  She’d take a bus to the downtown and scour maps at the station, searching for the tallest points within walking distance.  She never asked for directions.  Her feet grew tired searching for elevation.  She loved hilltops and bridges.  Places the breeze whipped her red hair and licked at her neck, the way he had that summer and didn’t any longer.

She would stand on the bridge and imagine the photographs she could take, the angles and exposures.  Sometimes she waited for sunset.  Waiting.  Listening to the sounds of traffic or birds and anticipating the wash of colors that would douse this temporary city.  She never brought a camera, just the book, and she would use its pages on the hottest days to shield her face from the sun.

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That summer they’d gone swimming in the public pool near his apartment.  They spread faded beach towels on the damp concrete, two strips of fabric forming one.  She could feel his hip press into hers when he flipped onto his stomach.  She wore large-rimmed sunglasses.  He talked about chemistry and honey bees.  She watched as he carefully descended the metal latter and slipped underwater—out of sight—a preview of things to come.

The bridge she was standing on now was quiet.  There wasn’t much of a breeze.  She could still smell the chlorine of that swimming pool, feel the weight of her swimsuit after she’d soaked it in the bathroom sink, rinsing chemicals from the cloth the way she’d rinsed them from her hair the way he’d rinsed her from his life.

She turned away from the city and leaned her back against the metal railing, looking into the two-lane street in front of her.  There were railroad tracks on the other side of the bridge and she imagined a longer journey, one that would take weeks or months or longer.  She imagined sleeping in her seat on the train and waking in Paris or Istanbul or Sarajevo, clutching a book she would read in a nearby park a few blocks from the train station.

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Michael Bunn teaches writing, media and pop culture at the University of Southern California. He is also the scarecrow who married Jeff and me at our Halloween wedding. 

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10 Comments so far
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Nice collaboration Lisa. I was trying to see what book you were hiding behind 🙂 Love the last photo–again like a painting. Thanks for your efforts.

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Comment by Michael Williamson

thanks, michael! the book i’m ‘reading’ is a student french text from the 1930s about a detective who solves crimes around paris – petty crimes, from what i can tell from my high school french.

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Comment by Lisa

Very Exciting! I am excited to see how you interpret his stories.

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Comment by Bill

thanks, dude – it’s fun not knowing where the next photography adventure will take you.

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Comment by Lisa

The writing works really well with the photos. Mike’s a good writer!

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Comment by Jeff

I’ll be sure to let him know – I’m excited to see what we come up with this summer!

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Comment by Lisa

…very nice collaboration, it´s full of life!! Thank you, Lisa and Michael!!

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Comment by karijeppesen

thanks, kari, that’s so nice to read : ).

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Comment by Lisa

Lovely, vivid, and descriptive collaboration. Nice work.

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Comment by motherblue212

thanks, lady – that makes me happy.

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Comment by Lisa




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